I'm staring at a stack of papers taller than the Sunday edition of the New York Times but at the same time trying not to. When Yukon returned late Saturday from CHYC, he brought with him admission paperwork for one (of few) "step-down" homes in Alaska. The cover sheet alone was enough to make me want to run, screaming, to my bedroom and hide in a corner. Social Security card? Custody verification? Medical and behavioral history, again? I had forgotten about all this.
But here I am, searching in dusty files, copying information, and dutifully filling in blanks, crossing proverbial 't's' and dotting 'i's'. And we're not even sure when any discharge or admission is going to occur, so it feels strange on a number of levels, this daring to stick out our necks. I am unsettled.
A rather large gray area remains concerning Wolf's abilities, and I, realist to the end, would rather start low and gradually raise the bar ever higher rather than crash and burn with expectations set too high. We've been here before, you understand, and the psyches of my son and all people around him deserve preservation. This does not set well with some people, I have discovered. One friend of Yukon's said "Well, of course he'll go to college when he gets home, right?" and was dissatisfied with my response of "Maybe." Another acquaintance asked if I didn't think the facility we were considering in Fairbanks wouldn't be too "confining" for a kid like Wolf. Too confining? I'm worried it's not confining enough, but I didn't tell her that.
Turning pages to the next chapter is not easy. Wading through a sea of paperwork reminds me of this. I've had things, relatively speaking, easy these past few years. CHYC has handled nearly every aspect of Wolf's life, for better or worse, and my response has largely been in agreement or discord with civilized communication in between.
On a deeper level, I suppose, just facing the potential reality of my son's return to Alaska frightens me on a selfish plane. Nobody's lives will be the same, and a long view of what our personal and professional world will look like is murky at best.
I made a pledge to take those Baby Steps. I found copies of birth certificate, custody declaration, and passport. Three things checked off an endless list; and perhaps this afternoon I will actually flip over the cover page and take a long look at what's underneath.